Hospice is based upon the philosophy that death is a natural process and that comfort/alleviating symptoms/pain and increasing the quality of living is the most important service you can provide for a terminal loved one or friend. The primary goal of hospice is not to help the patient die, but to encourage t patients to live as fully as possible each day that they are alive. Be aware that if the patient survives six months during hospice, and it is determined by a physician that they won’t survive another six months, they are allowed to stay in the hospice program.
Services are defined by Medicare Hospice Benefit whether they are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. For Medicare to cover hospice, a physican must certify that a patient has six months or less to live.
Service can include:
Physician participation (hospice medical director in addition to the patient’s personal physician)
Medical; social services (social worker to help with emotional and social needs);
Counseling services, and bereavement for the family
Home health aide services (personal care usually 2-3 times a week)
Medical equipment (may include hospital bed, wheelchair, oxygen, etc)
Necessary lab tests
Physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Hospice volunteers make up a large part of the patient support and will come to read, give a massage, play music or just sit and talk with the patient.